FreedomPop rolls out low-income broadband service

Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) MVNO FreedomPop has partnered with Connect2Compete, a national nonprofit targeting the digital divide, to provide free and low-cost wireless Internet services to low-income residents.

FreedomPop is offering a router for $49, which Connect2Compete claims is a 50 percent discount, plus free access to 1 GB of WiMAX service each month with the option of adding 12 GB of service for $9.99 a month. The deal includes free 'auto-off' defaults to prevent overages.

Earlier this month, FreedomPop began marketing its Burst in-home broadband router for $89 along with 1 GB of free data per month. Burst users who consume more than 1 GB can purchase additional data at $5 per GB. Users can also purchase a 10 GB package of data for $9.99 per month, meaning participants in the low-income program will be getting 2 GB more for their $9.99 per month than users who are not in the program.

The new low-income service will first roll out in Los Angeles followed by other major markets in coming months, FreedomPop CEO Stephen Stokols told Telecompetitor.

In addition, FreedomPop will extend its standard promotional offerings to the low-income service. These offerings enable users to earn additional free data allotments by doing things such as signing up for other services from partner companies.

FreedomPop will initially offer its low-income service to anyone with a zip-plus-four address in areas that have a high percentage of low-income households, giving it a fairly broad potential market. Connect2Compete will screen potential customers via an online interface.

Connect2Compete has also partnered with cable companies such as Comcast and Cox Communications to provide eligible families high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month. Cox Communications will offer its program starting in April to free school lunch participants, and its program will include a free modem and free professional installation. Comcast's Internet Essentials program is already available to families who have at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program, including public, parochial, private and home-school students.

Connect2Compete is working with partners to provide low-income people with new and refurbished computers for less than $200. The organization will also help the public find digital literacy programs in more than 21,000 libraries and training centers. To help drive awareness of the free digital skills trainings, Connect2Compete and the Ad Council are launching a nationwide public service advertising (PSA) campaign called "EveryoneOn."

For more:
- see this Connect2Compete release
- see this Telecompetitor article

Related articles:
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FreedomPop intros new pricing options with Burst in-home broadband router
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Report: FreedomPop to launch 'LTE clip' for iPad, Android tablets
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